Well, the charade is finally over. On Monday, Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito got his wish and was released from the team’s reserve/retired list. The Bills confirmed the news via their Twitter account.
We have released G Richie Incognito from the Reserve/Retired list. pic.twitter.com/Tr1JsIychT
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) May 21, 2018
Although the release is not a big surprise, the confluence of events leading to the announcement was abnormal, to say the least. Perhaps more importantly, it is yet another example of the Bills having the rug pulled from under them.
Buffalo Bills Get Played by Erratic Guard Richie Incognito
The Incognito release was an all too familiar situation for the Bills. Much like the abrupt retirement of wide receiver Anquan Boldin in 2017, the Bills have again been backed into a corner with no place to go. Sure, general manager Brandon Beane didn’t budge when Boldin suddenly renewed his passion for football and wanted the team to release him. The fact of the matter is that they got played then, and they have now, as well.
Incognito’s release was the final nail in the coffin of a string of bizarre, somewhat disturbing set of events. Here is the timeline:
Jonathan Martin, the ex-teammate that Incognito harassed and bullied during their time with the Miami Dolphins, posts a highly disturbing message on his Instagram account. The post specifically calls out Incognito, as well as a few other players.
Former Dolphins OL Jonathan Martin with some seriously disturbing stuff on his IG story… pic.twitter.com/NaJ8a0BXze
— Nick Brown (@NickyBeaster) February 23, 2018
Incognito restructures the final year of his contract, as his $7.57 million cap hit was deemed too rich for the cap-strapped Bills’ blood to pay a 34-year old guard. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network confirmed that the move was mutually amicable via his Twitter.
Bills G Richie Incognito redid the last year of his contract to remain with the team, source says. Sides talked it over recently and got it done.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 15, 2018
The veteran guard decides to abruptly fire his agent…via Twitter.
@AthletesFirst You are Fired! I wish you guys nothing but the best moving forward. Thank you for all of your help and guidance along the way. It’s time for me to go in a new direction ✌🏼
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 5, 2018
Many attributed the dismissal to Incognito not being on side with the pay cut to stay in Western New York. Regardless, the approach taken by the guard to fire his agent was void of any semblance of class.
He then decides to inexplicably retire…via Twitter.
— Richie Incognito (@68INCOGNITO) April 10, 2018
Incognito then elaborates on the sudden retirement in an interview with Vic Carucci. “My liver and kidneys are shutting down,” Incognito told Carucci.”The stress is killing me. It’s just about doing what’s right. I just want to be in the Hall of Fame.”
The news not only startled fans but teammates as well. LeSean McCoy decided to take to Instagram to offer Incognito a hefty sum of money to have a change of heart and come back to the team.
Much to the chagrin of some Bills players, Incognito gets released from the Bills’ reserve/retired list, making him a free agent. He is now free to sign with any team that he so chooses.
One Helluva Player
Although the Incognito release should leave an incredibly sour taste in the mouth of Bills fans, it is important to highlight Incognito’s high-level of play during his second tour of duty in Buffalo. Most thought that the guard would retire from football following the perturbing situation with Martin in 2014, but the Nebraska product decided to take a year off and sign-on with the (then) Rex Ryan led Bills for the 2015 season.
From that point on, Incognito’s hulking stature and surprising athleticism helped propel the Bills into one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. As a result, the erratic guard was named to three straight Pro Bowls (2015-17), the All-Pro team in 2015, as well as being named the 97th best player in the league in 2016.
The Last Word
Despite his propensity for untimely holding penalties, Incognito might have been the best guard the Bills have had since Ruben Brown. Unfortunately, his antics over the past few months will assuredly taint all that he has accomplished with the team. It also clearly shows that the Bills, yet again, lack the gumption that elite teams such as the New England Patriots continually exhibit.
To Incognito: Good riddance.
To Bills brass: Take control of things for once. Please.